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October 3, 2017

AWB manufacturing tour winds through Eastern Washington

By: Jason Hagey   Comments: 0
AWB President Kris Johnson shakes hands with Mauricio Contreras, a 17-year employee-owner of Manhasset Specialty Products, as Dan Roberts, president and general manager of Manhasset, looks on during a tour on Oct. 3, 2017. Manhasset was the first stop of day 3 of the AWB Manufacturing Week Tour. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

The best music stands in the world are made in a nondescript building in Yakima by the employee owners of an 82-year-old manufacturing company.

Manhasset Specialty Company, one of Washington's most ardent supporters of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, welcomed the AWB bus early Tuesday morning as the first statewide manufacturing tour continued on the east side of the state.

Dan Roberts, Manhasset's president, told AWB that the successful reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank in 2015 gave the company confidence to make significant capital investments in the business that will help make it competitive for the next 25 years.

"We appreciate your support," Roberts said. "It's important for manufacturing to stay strong in this country."

Everywhere the bus stopped, AWB heard similar stories of manufacturers welcoming support for their operations and employees.

Touring John I. Haas, Inc., North America's leading hops breeder, grower and processor. It employs 60 at its Yakima headquarters, 100 at this adjacent processing plant, and up to 250 (depending on the season) at its nearby 2,300-acre farm in Toppenish.
A short drive away, John I Haas, Inc., the leading hops producer in North America, told the story of its 105-year history in the U.S. and 200-plus years in Europe. The company not only breeds hops, but also runs a world-class brewing and research facility that's constantly developing new hops and recipes.

And in nearby Union Gap, the bus stopped Rankin Equipment, a fifth-generation family-owned farming implement manufacturer and dealer.

The bus rolled to the Tri-Cities next, stopping at Lamb Weston in Richland. Employees signed their names on the side of the bus and decorated it with french fry stickers and notes saying "Make every day a fry day" and "Enjoy Fries."

"We are all so proud of the footprint we bring to Washington state manufacturing," said Lamb Weston's Michelle MacArthur.

Kate Lampson of Lampson International, state Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, Carl Adrian of TRIDEC, and AWB's Manufacturing Tour staff pose in Pasco on the LTL-3000, the world's largest mobile crawler, designed and built by Lampson.
State Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, and state Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, joined AWB for a tour of Delta High School in Pasco. Everyone was impressed by the students who led the tour at Delta, a public STEM school that's finding new ways to equip young people for the workforce of the future.

For bus No. 1, the day wrapped with stops at Lampson International in Kennewick and Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland.

Lampson, a 75-year-old family-run company, showed off the Transi-Lift LTL 3000, the world's largest land-based mobile crawler crane.

The second of the two buses traveling the state this week began its journey Tuesday in Chelan at Tsillan Cellers to tour their wine-making operation, then headed to Wenatchee for a stop at Dolco Packaging where Shaun McGuire and his team showed off their plant and packaging innovations.

The bus then headed east to Colville for stops at Hewes Marine Company, Colmac Coil and Vaagen Brothers Lumber. In rural communities like Colville, manufacturing companies are crucial to the local economy.

Follow both buses online, join the tour and sign the bus. On social media, be sure to post your photos with the bus using the hashtags #isignedthebus and #MFGisWA. And, follow along on Twitter @AWBOlympia and @AWBInstitute.